Bloomberg Billionaires Index

View profiles for each of the world’s 500 richest people, see the biggest movers, and compare fortunes or track returns.

#349 Liz Mohn $5.32B

Random fact: Became mistress of Bertelsmann heir Reinhard Mohn at age 17.

Overview

Mohn is the largest shareholder of Bertelsmann, Europe's biggest media company. The closely held conglomerate has interests in printing and publishing businesses Penguin Random House and Gruner + Jahr, broadcaster RTL Group and customer service company Arvato. It had revenue of 17 billion euros ($18.8 billion) in 2016.

As of Oct. 17, 2017:
Last change -$34.9M (-0.7%)
YTD change +$714M (+15.5%)
Industry Media & Telecom
Biggest asset Bertelsmann
Citizenship Germany
Age 72
Wealth Inherited
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Liz Mohn's net worth of $5.32B can buy ...

0
troy ounces of gold
0
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

0%
of the GDP of the United States
0%
of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
0%
of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
0%
of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
0%
of U.S. existing home sales
0
times the median U.S. household income

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Cash
Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

The majority of Mohn's fortune is derived from her stake in Guetersloh, Germany-based Bertelsmann, Europe's largest media company, according to its website. The Mohn family owns 19.1 percent of Bertelsmann, according to the site. Liz Mohn is credited with the entire stake to reflect her position on the supervisory board and status as family matriarch.

The closely held business had revenue of 17 billion euros ($18.8 billion) and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of 2.6 billion euros in 2016, according to its annual report. It's valued using the average enterprise value-to-Sales and enterprise value-to-Ebitda multiple of two publicly traded peer companies: Axel Springer and News Corp.

The value of her cash investments is based on an analysis of dividends, taxes and market performance.

Andreas Grafemeyer, a spokesman for Bertelsmann, declined to comment on the net worth calculation.

Biography

Birthdate: 6/21/1941
Family: Widowed, 3 children

Elisabeth Mohn is the widow of Reinhard Mohn, the great-great-grandson of Carl Bertelsmann, founder of what is now Europe's largest media company. Bertelsmann started a namesake publisher of hymn books and religious material in Guetersloh, Germany in 1835. His descendants have maintained control of the closely held business ever since.

Reinhard Mohn was born in 1921. He was drafted into military service for Nazi Germany after graduating high school and became a prisoner of war of the U.S. Army. He returned home to Germany in 1946 and the following year took over the family company, which he expanded into broadcasting and magazine publishing across Europe during the ensuing decades.

Reinhard met his future wife, Elisabeth Beckmann, when she was a 17-year-old high school dropout working as Bertelsmann secretary. They met during a game of musical chairs at a company party in 1958. Mohn was in his late 30s and married with three children when the two started an affair, according to her memoir "Key Moments: Experiences in a Dedicated Life." She became pregnant with their first child, Brigitte, in 1963. To avoid a scandal, she married Joachim Scholz, a children’s books editor at Bertelsmann, and continued the affair with Mohn, with whom she had two children, Christoph and Andreas.

The two married in 1982 after each divorced their first spouses. Mohn recognized his three children out of wedlock and prepared them for roles in the Bertelsmann business. None of the three children from his first marriage hold a top position at the company. He died in 2009, and his wife inherited a 20 percent stake in the company. The Bertelsmann Foundation, which was founded by Reinhard Mohn in 1977, controls the rest of the shares, and has given away more than $1 billion to political, social and economic causes.

Milestones
  • 1835 Carl Bertelsmann founds publisher of hymn books and religious material.
  • 1921 Reinhard Mohn is born into publishing family in Guetersloh, Germany.
  • 1947 Mohn takes over management of family’s printing and publishing business.
  • 1958 Meets husband during game of musical chairs at company party.
  • 1960 Company's international expansion begins with Spanish book club.
  • 1963 Becomes pregnant with their first child, Brigitte.
  • 1982 Marries Reinhard Mohn.
  • 2009 Reinhard Mohn dies. Elisabeth Mohn inherits family stake.